INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
From Blackpool, alternative rock three-piece Uncle Paul take a rather old-school DIY approach towards sound and lyrical content, preferring to just get together, play, and see what comes out of that.
It has served them well so far, what with the band bringing out three positively-received EPs, the latest being recent offering ‘Dot Rotten’.
To find out more about the trio, I spoke to their guitarist, Niall Carroll, and the following is what he had to say:
How did the band initially form?
The band formed in 2011, with the intent of playing live improv shows, and we played quite a lot during our first few months as a band.
Looking back now, it is hard to believe we would show up and play without any preconceived notion of any song structure, as with each gig, we would discard any previous musical ideas, so we likely couldn’t remember what was played, and would start again!
The idea of having “songs” entered the frame once we had started recording our first EP. We decided to write original material, and from there on in, we jammed, remembered the songs, and quite liked them.
How did the name Uncle Paul come about?
Everyone has a dodgy uncle or knows someone with a dodgy uncle called Paul, right?
What are the band’s main musical influences?
It is hard to say really. We have never approached the band with a type of sound or a preconceived style or band we want to sound like, so I’d say everything from The Butthole Surfers, Melvins, Tad to Crass.
I think our influences play a subconscious role, but we never think about a band or sound when we are playing or writing, as we just get together and see what naturally flows.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
The three of us get together, plug in, and play. It is as simple and as honest as that.
One of us will hit upon something, and it will evolve from there, but the three of us never spend too long trying to make a song work, and if it doesn’t work, then we either change it or forget about it.
With us being a three-piece and similar-minded, we are on a wave length which we can tune into and make music we all like and agree on. The first port of call is to anyways write music we enjoy playing and that we think doesn’t suck.
What inspires the band lyrically?
Currently, I would say the 80’s pop sensation known as Tiffany. A lot of our songs are quite lyrically sparse, and can be interpreted how the listener chooses or feels. The lyrics aren’t too direct in execution, leaving room for them to bond with the music, which brings the vibe/energy of the song out.
Recently, you unveiled your third EP, ‘Dot Rotten’. How was the recording process for that?
The three of us are best friends first and foremost, and we are never too precious about our own ideas. If it isn’t working, we just shoot it down and continue.
Our drummer, Luke Williams, has his own rehearsal and recording studio, so we did it all ourselves. That way, there was no pressure, we just hung out and pressed record.
We have an old school DIY approach to the band, and we just happen to be three dudes who write, record, and release our own stuff.
Daniel Worsley, our vocalist/bassist, handles the art, which I think perfectly brings the vibe and colour of the music across.
Each EP has definitely shown us evolve as a band, and I think ‘Dot Rotten’ is another step forward for us. If you play the three EPs side-by-side, they end and the next one then starts the same, and this was done intentionally to highlight how each release has evolved and yet flows into the other.
And how has the response been to the release so far?
Once we had finished the EP, we threw a non-lavish release party. We got a few local acts playing along with us, and we gave out the CD.
So far, the response has been really positive, and people seem to be really digging the music. The three of us are quite proud of the songs, production, and artwork, and with this EP, we feel it really conveys the band’s style and intentions quite well.
Also, we have had a few reviews, and more requests for interviews, so hopefully we can get the music out there to more people who would dig it.
So far, the band have mainly performed live in their home town of Blackpool. How, in your opinion, is the rock scene doing there at the moment?
I think there is a resurgence of the music scene and it can only be viewed as a good thing. Blackpool has plenty of great bands, and more venues need to take a risk and devote time to unsigned music.
There was a time where, from Thursday to Saturday, there would be three or four venues playing host to bands, and you would try and catch them all, but sadly, that dipped, and it appeared venues cared more for two meals for £10, and forgot about live music.
I think the tide is definitely turning now, though, as there are a wealth of bands bursting to get out and play, and Blackpool could certainly be the epicentre of a booming music scene for the north-west.
Personally, the Blackpool music scene has been a hidden gem waiting to be discovered for decades.
And how is the overall experience, for the band, of playing live?
Personally, it is the best thing about being in a band. There is a quote in the Led Zeppelin biography Hammer Of The Gods where Jimmy Page is quoted as saying “the intention was to get out and play“.
Certainly, that was the intention of the early days, and still is now, because nothing beats getting up on stage and making a racket.
And finally, now that ‘Dot Rotten’ has come out, what are your plans for the rest of 2019?
We are currently balls-deep in writing new material. We are about four songs in, and we hope to begin recording for our fourth EP this summer.
We have always preferred concentrating on EPs rather than albums, as I think our music is better digested that way, and it lets us cut the fat from our meaty musical selections.
Essentially, the three of us will continue to hang out, make fun of each other – once the tears have dried – and we will write a bunch of songs we like. We will also continue to play live at any venue that will put us on.
Hopefully, we can support Tiffany on her tour, because I am sure we will have a song she would like.